Spain, Italy predict dismal olive oil harvests

Drought and disease in Spain and Italy, respectively, have pushed the price of olive oil up 10 percent so far this year, amid warnings from suppliers that harvests are the worst they have seen, according to an article in the Guardian over the weekend.

With the punishing effects of an economic crisis still plaguing Greece, an expected spike in prices could spell extra revenue for Greek producers.

According to the Guardian, production in Greece and Tunisia, nevertheless may not be sufficient to compensate for the losses elsewhere in the Mediterranean.

Recently, the Italian government has declared a “state of calamity” in the provinces of Lecce and Brindisi on the heel of the country, where olive groves are being attacked by a bacterial disease nicknamed “olive ebola” . Up to one million centuries-old olive trees could be felled in one of the most picturesque tourist spots of Italy in an attempt to contain the problem, the Guardian writes.

The world’s biggest producer of olive oil, Spain, has been hit by drought and the bacterial disease Xylella fastidiosa, the same pestilence plaguing the Italian trees.

Demand outstripped supply by 12 percent last month.

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